‘Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2’

“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2,” more easily known as “GRAW2,” is a third-person tactical military shooter, with more realism and strategy involved than many famous first-person shooters like “Halo.” In single player mode, players have the ability to take cover behind walls and obstacles, peeking and shooting around corners as someone afraid of getting shot would do. Other squad members and vehicles are placed under players’ command as well, with excellent options for squad control and management, which can test tactics and strategy as much as shooting skill.

Most of the action, though, will be found in online multiplayer matches. Unfortunately, most of the taking-cover aspect isn’t present, and unlimited spawning takes most of the danger out of rushing into a firefight anyway, as another life is only a few seconds away. Of course, squad control in multiplayer is done with real people, so social skills, leadership and teamwork are what separates winning teams from losing, not just individual skill. The good news is that a strategy-based shooter attracts a more mature player than most Xbox Live games; the bad news is that local hosting rather than dedicated servers means teams will not always be up to full size before getting frame and lag issues, and audio can be garbled or cut out at times when hearing one’s teammates is essential.

There were also some issues with crashing when the game was first released, but a patch download seems to have fixed the problem. Unfortunately, as console games go online, we can expect to see more bugged products released and patched after the fact, as PC gamers are already well aware.

“GRAW2” has some of the best smoke and explosion effects of any next-generation game out there, with detailed environmental textures as well. Some say “GRAW2” doesn’t have a whole lot more to it than the first “GRAW,” but those who aren’t familiar with the earlier game will find plenty to like about the second.